Meeting Potential Donor Heroes in San Diego – Curtis
Below is an accounting of our experience meeting in San Diego with 3 Potential Donor Heroes. We have a series of profiles and accountings of the experience to share from Kevin, Arianne and Tarina so stay tuned for those blog posts as well.
Last Wednesday was a pretty spectacular once-in-a-lifetime experience. Coming off the high of receiving the good news on Monday evening about UCLA accepting my donor and scheduling pre-op testing for this Monday, I went down to San Diego (my Dad Don kept me company) to continue the registration process at Sharp Hospital – now as a backup plan. Three potential donors were lined up to meet me at the appointment. I had never met them or known them before sharing our story this past fall. Talking to them and seeing the level of commitment and effort they’ve put in over the past months has been simply awe-inspiring. These people (amongst others that I want to highlight and celebrate going forward) have filled out multiple questionnaires, taken many, many blood tests, collected their pee in a bucket for 24 hours and taken time away from their work and their loved ones to do all of these things. The level of selflessness blows my mind and brings me to my knees and humbles me. These are regular, everyday people who just happen to have the hearts of heroes. My appreciation for humanity and our ability to rise above our everyday existence and petty squabbles/distractions is at a whole new level.
Arriving at the hospital, it was like a blind date (but with higher stakes). Tarina? Curtis? Kevin? Curtis? Arianne? Curtis? Hugs and “nice to meet you’s.” Out of respect for their individual journeys in exploring donation, my only connection with Kevin, Arianne and Tarina was that I had a brief thank you call/left a voice mail for them last year. They have been communicating and handling all logistics with my amazing friend and colleague Claire Hoxie who I will tell you more about later.
The transplant staff was blown away. They said they NEVER have had potential donors come more prepared for an initial registration with completed labs and everything that Tarina, Arianne and Kevin had done. They had NEVER had a potential recipient come with three potential altruistic donors who they had never met. In fact, after they found that out, they had to scramble and change their protocol. Instead of taking blood from the potential donors, they set up appointments with a social worker so that they could confirm that the potential donors are acting altruistically and aren’t being coerced in some way by me.
I told my Dad, you can come with me down to the hospital but when you meet the potential donors, just shake their hand and say nice to meet you. Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t help himself – jumping in for a big hug and a giant, teary thank you for each of them. I forgave him!
Teea, the insurance and financial coordinator for the transplant team, came in to talk to the four of us in a room and was laughing and talking with us and said, “it’s like an episode of Friends in here.” When we told her that the four of us just met each other for the first time 30 minutes earlier, she was BLOWN AWAY. She said that she had assumed Arianne was my wife, that Tarina was a family member and that Kevin was a childhood friend :).
There are MANY more people that stepped up in a huge way to volunteer for the Big Give in response to our Big Ask. So many that I can’t share all of their videos/stories – but the spirit of all of our heroes is really very similar across the board.
We have a series of profiles and accountings of the experience to share from Kevin, Arianne and Tarina so keep coming back to see them as well.